I apologize in advance that this post is so overtly Christian and faith oriented. While The Thing About Flying is generally not written for “Christian men,” but for men in general, we have also made no apologies for the fact that the four administrators of this site are in fact (very flawed) Christians, and we typically try not to hide that in our writing. Today, however, I am going to be a bit more overt on the topic than usual, because I just need to make a comment or two.
A couple of years ago I had a revelation. To most, my revelation might seem a little obvious, like I shouldn’t be calling it a “revelation,” but it was a profound moment for me. It happened when one afternoon (or morning . . . or evening . . . I don’t really remember what time of day it was) as I was reading through some of my old journal entries, and came across a time when I had been exploring 1 Peter 1.3–5. It reads:
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to his great mercy, has called us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God, through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”
At some point I was reading this verse and I realized that I didn’t quite know what was going on here. Not that I didn’t know, or understand it, I just realized that this was such a long and drawn out sentence with so many different parts to it, that no matter how many times I read it my eyes were glazed over and I was thinking about Kentucky basketball, or pizza, by the time I got to the end of the sentence. I just couldn’t seem to get through it. So at that aforementioned point in time, I decided to break 1 Peter 1.3–5 down a bit and I made a flow chart that looked a little something like this in my journal:
BLESSED BE GOD
HE HAS CAUSED US TO BE REBORN à LIVING HOPE
HE IS MERCIFUL JESUS’ RESURRECTION
WE MAY RECEIVE AN “INHERITANCE” (?)
It wasn’t until some time later that I was reading back through this old journal entry and a part of this passage just jumped off the page and grabbed my attention:
BLESSED BE GOD.
What I realized as I read this entry again, and as I paid attention to the opening line of 1 Peter 1.3—BLESSED BE GOD—is that for all the time I had spent trying to know more and more about God (and at this point I was half-way through a masters degree in Biblical Studies, so . . . a lot of time), I had desperately missed the point of knowing God. What I realized was that for all the countless hours I had spent trying to learn why it is God is blessed, I had spent an awfully little amount of time praising, glorifying, and honoring Him in the ways his blessedness deserves and calls for.
I bring this up this morning because last week I was reminded of this one more time, not through a time of reflection, necessarily, but through my interactions with a group of people who were struggling to make sense of the world after tragedy had struck them. What I realized last week was that for all the “theology” I learned in school, I had nothing to say to this group of people who were pouring out their hearts in search of healing. What I realized is that, although I can banter with my friends about this being a fallen world that God is working to put back to rights, and that evil exists because of this fallen state in which we find ourselves, that kind of discussion doesn’t provide much hope or peace to a person in need of love and care.
Please don’t misunderstand me. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t seek to learn about the faith(s) in which we believe, or that we shouldn’t challenge our beliefs regularly, or establish a firm foundation in those beliefs based on the evidence with which we are presented. I wholeheartedly believe that all of those ventures are valid and noble. But my challenge this morning is simply this: don’t miss the point. Don’t, like I’m all too often prone to do, spend so much time learning about God and his glory that you devote way too little time to honoring Him and offering your praise. Our faith is built not on the acceptance of a theology, but on the acceptance of a relationship with a loving God who is worthy of our praise. Praise him.